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Munster Rugby – Environmental Impact and Sustainability Report

October 30 2023 - News Release News Editorial

Munster Rugby is acutely aware of its stewardship for the legacy of the province and is committed to developing and sustaining the integrity of the brand, in order to create a legacy which can be further developed by future generations.

Munster Rugby – Environmental Impact and Sustainability Report

Munster Rugby facilities include Thomond Park, Musgrave Park and the High Performance Centre in the University of Limerick. Munster Rugby fully recognise that its operations have an impact on the local, national, and global environment.

Munster Rugby published its first Environmental Impact and Sustainability Report in October 2023.

This includes a review of our environmental sustainability including carbon emissions reporting for 2021/22 season and our baseline season of 19/20. Clearly outlining our commitments and targets for climate action, it also provides insights into our progress to date, both our achievements and challenges.

Read the report here.

What’s our goal?

By becoming a signatory to the UN Sports for Climate Action and Race to Zero frameworks in 2021 and 2022, Munster Rugby joined over 300 global sports organisations with a collective ambition to drive climate action. The club is one of only two rugby clubs in the world on this list where signatories publicly commit to a systematic reduction of their carbon emissions.

These frameworks commit us to achieving specific climate goals of halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2040 or as soon as possible. This commitment affects every part of the club, including taking responsibility for the impact of supporters within our sport.

Our approach

Since making these commitments we have started to embed sustainability into all our operations. We are developing a wider sustainability strategy which will pull the 3 pillars of sustainability together: environmental, social, and economic, helping us to connect the dots of our work across the club to tell our story.

Environmental Sustainability

  • Migrate – Take action to cut carbon emissions quickly and sharply, whether caused directly or indirectly by our activities as a rugby club – to net zero.
  • Adapt – Build resilience and learn to adjust to the current and future climate impacts whilst taking advantage of opportunities and nurturing the strong connection with our communities.
  • Influence – Build resilience and learn to adjust to the current and future climate impacts whilst taking advantage of opportunities and nurturing the strong connection with our communities.

Where are we at?

Measuring the data and interpreting the results has allowed us to identify what our main emission categories are and provides an overall snapshot of where we are at. This enables us to funnel our efforts and resources into the action areas which will have the most impact.

In total, travel accounts for the majority of all emissions at the club and therefore provides the most significant challenge to reaching our climate goals. This is split into:

  • Supporter travel (home games and concerts)
  • Team travel (away matches)
  • Business travel (staff and management)
  • Company cars (staff)
  • Staff and players commuting to work and training

Our plan and actions

We have been taking sustainable actions over the last number of seasons, but now we are stringing things together, increasing ambition, finding new ways, scaling up, and measuring our progress. This is the decade for action – the window is closing fast.

Energy

  • Photovoltaic panels were installed on the roof of both the West Stand and East Terrace in Musgrave Park in early 2023 with our energy partners Pinergy, enough to power the entire Musgrave Park campus on sunny days.
  • Following an assessment, the roof of Thomond Park has been deemed unsuitable for the installation of solar panels for the moment, however we will continue to look for solutions to increase our self-generated power at the club.
  • Energy Analytics Software using smart meters give more precise control of electric and gas heating systems at our properties.
  • We have upgraded to LED lighting systems, including LED floodlights at both stadiums. Floodlights at Musgrave Park for example have lowered from 248kW to 144kW following the switch to LEDs – a 42% reduction.

Water

  • We have installed smart meters and sensors to monitor and reduce our water usage and have waterless urinals throughout Thomond Park.
  • We have partnered with ONA, part of PWG Ireland, to provide filtered water refill stations across our properties to provide quality drinking water for our players and staff with the target to reduce single-use plastics.
  • The next phase will then be to roll these out to the concourses at stadiums next season 2023/2024 for fans to use with their own reusable bottles.

Waste

The effort to reduce waste across operations and particularly stadium events is an ongoing challenge every season. By following the waste hierarchy of reduce first, reuse next, recycle last we are improving our waste management systems across all properties.

  • We aim to phase out single-use plastics from our stadiums.
  • We are engaging with our catering partners to reduce packaging waste linked to hot and cold snacks.
  • Reusable coffee mugs were provided to MRSC Supporters Club members as their 2022/2023 season gift to encourage using reusables on the go and at our stadiums.
  • We designed our own waste segregation bins at Thomond Park leading to increased matchday waste recycling rates with glass, food, cardboard, plastic, paper, metal and grass segregated and collected by our waste partner Mr Binman.
  • Elimination of all plastic bags for waste collection has also been implemented with a strict policy of using compostable bags only.
  • We worked with Limerick City and County Council to install waste segregation bins outside the stadium too.
  • We have automated our Accounts Payable system and staff have drastically reduced printer use.

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